Carmen Gutierrez. Health Consequences of Community Supervision among Latina Women: Understanding the Violence of Expanding Biopolitical Surveillance

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The combination of expanding, racialized punishment in the criminal legal system and increasingly punitive immigration policies has led to unprecedented growth in the number of Latina women under community supervision in the United States. Multiplying their surveillance, Latinas may be placed under community supervision through the criminal legal system’s enforcement of parole and probation, as well as through the Department of Homeland Security’s Alternative to Detention (ATD) programs. These forms of community supervision may have distinct and significant consequences for the health and health care of both US- and foreign-born Latinas as they face varying concerns about their criminal legal status and immigration status. The rise of community supervision in both the criminal legal system and the immigration system may therefore have significant implications for Latinas at the population level. No study to date, however, has investigated the potential impacts of community supervision among Latina women nationwide. Addressing this gap in the literature, the current study uses data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) to examine the distinct effects of community supervision on the health and health care outcomes of Latina women in the United States. By examining the effects of community supervision among Latina women, results from this study provide theoretical implications for our knowledge of legal violence, racialized legal status, and biopolitical surveillance. And, in the context of ongoing reforms in the US immigration system and the US criminal legal system, results from this study also have significant policy relevance.


Carmen Gutierrez is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Policy and a Faculty Fellow in the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In her research, Dr. Gutierrez examines how structural and institutional racism cause health inequalities among people in the United States. She is particularly interested in the ways that population health disparities are shaped by the US criminal legal system and the US immigration system. Her work on these topics blends perspective from social demography, critical race theory, and feminist geography to investigate the role of US institutions and policies in shaping Black and Brown people's health in unique ways. Dr. Gutierrez's research has appeared in the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Public Health, and Criminology & Public Policy. Her work has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Prior to joining the faculty at UNC, Dr. Gutierrez earned a B.A. in Sociology and Spanish from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas in Austin.